14 January 2014 @ 11:06 am
Floaters  
20140114-104242.jpgLast week I noticed that I was cleaning my glasses, and cleaning my glasses, and cleaning my glasses, and my vision wasn't getting better. The problem was not in the glasses, but in my left eye. Floaters.

Anyone who has read my story "Floaters" will understand why I was a bit creeped out by this.

Now, I've had floaters for years, and they are usually nothing to worry about, but these were a lot worse than I'd had previously and they seemed to have come on suddenly, so I made an appointment to have the eye checked out.

Well, the good news is that there's nothing unusual or seriously wrong, it's just a common age-related complaint called posterior vitreous detachment. My retina is still firmly attached, but when you get to a certain age, especially if you are nearsighted, the jelly inside your eye kind of shrinks and separates from the eye wall, and that's what I'm seeing. The process of detachment takes about 6 weeks, and "now would be a bad time to take up kickboxing." I love my eye doctor (whose name is, as it happens, Dr. Love).

The bad news is that these floaters are not going to go away, and I can probably look forward to the same in the other eye one of these years. Oh, well.

On the other hand, with my new insurance I only had to pay a $15 co-pay for the visit (thank you, Obamacare) and with only one eye dilated I get to freak people out all day. So, all in all, it's a win.
 
 
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
El Coyote Gordo: eschersupergee on January 14th, 2014 07:08 pm (UTC)
I had that a few years ago and they fixed it.
David D. Levinedavidlevine on January 14th, 2014 07:12 pm (UTC)
What was the fix?
El Coyote Gordo: archessupergee on January 14th, 2014 09:26 pm (UTC)
It was unpleasant and I've repressed most of it, but it worked.
Amy Sissonamysisson on January 14th, 2014 07:13 pm (UTC)
So detachment takes six weeks -- what treatment then?

Hope it isn't too unpleasant. :-(
David D. Levinedavidlevine on January 14th, 2014 07:25 pm (UTC)
During the detachment period there's a slight risk of retinal detachment, so I need to avoid blows to the head (more so than usual, I guess) and call back immediately in case of sudden vision problems like "curtains," "dust storms," or "lightning flashes" which may indicate retina problems. Once that's over the glob of detached goo may float to the bottom of the eye and become less obnoxious, or it might stay where it is and I'll have to live with it. No treatment necessary.

It's not too bad, really, just mildly annoying. The main reason I went to the eye doctor is that I was concerned that this mildly annoying symptom might presage something worse.
Amy Sissonamysisson on January 14th, 2014 07:31 pm (UTC)
Glad it's not worse! I misunderstood and thought that the retinal detachment was inevitable. Keep your head safe! ;-)
Kate Schaefer: First Iconkate_schaefer on January 14th, 2014 07:35 pm (UTC)
Combine the mismatched pupils with your custom eyebrow lift and the top hat, and you're in serious mad scientist territory.

Of course, you wander around that neighborhood frequently anyway...
David D. Levine: dr. talondavidlevine on January 14th, 2014 07:36 pm (UTC)
It's pretty much my main stomping ground.

Edited at 2014-01-14 07:36 pm (UTC)
billeylerbilleyler on January 14th, 2014 08:22 pm (UTC)
Woohoo!

But I understand what you mean about the floaters. I first noticed them when I was about 11, thinking it was dust on my eye. Still have them of course and not worse for the years.

Glad it wasn't a detached retina! You'd definitely be aware for that from what I hear.
Smofbabe: seniorsmofbabe on January 14th, 2014 08:54 pm (UTC)
Welcome to the club. I did a *lot* of net research when I got a largish floater a few months back and was relieved when absolutely every reputable site essentially said what your doctor said. (Not sure I would have believed anyone on the net named Dr Love, though ;-> ) Hang in there!
krisjensenkrisjensen on January 14th, 2014 11:28 pm (UTC)
I was calling a dance in Eugene and kept trying to clean my glasses between every tip. I finally realized (after too many attempts) that cleaning wasn't making what looked like drops of water on my glasses go away. After the dance, I did a quick internet search to see if I needed to panic (had the same worries as you, David, since they were big and came on suddenly), decided I could wait until I got back to Albuquerque, and made an appointment with my eye doctor. He confirmed that my retina was attached and that the floaters are probably here to stay.

However, he dilated both eyes, so I didn't get to freak people out. Oh well.
David D. Levinedavidlevine on January 14th, 2014 11:42 pm (UTC)
Ah, the joys of aging. Beats the alternative, though.
Luke McGuffholyoutlaw on January 15th, 2014 12:25 am (UTC)
I've had floaters for a while now. Sometimes I'll thin an insect is flying around me.
Allan: Hospitalallanh on January 15th, 2014 01:13 am (UTC)
I've suffered from floaters for many years. Annoys the crud out of me.

I'm starting to see "treatments" advertised for floaters, but I'm not -quite- convinced yet:

http://vitreousfloatersolutions.com/
lauriemannlauriemann on January 15th, 2014 01:25 am (UTC)
I have floaters, but, in my case, they're related to a bigger problem - wet macular degeneration. I generally notice them in indoor light or during cloudy days outdoors and not at all in sunlight. Have had two partially-detached retinas over the last few years.
joycemochajoycemocha on January 15th, 2014 03:25 am (UTC)
I've had floaters for years...one looked like a small worm, which was of course bothersome for someone who has been a farm girl with farm management stuff. Haven't noticed that one for a while...huh.

I wonder if your Dr. Love is a relative of my first Portland dentist, who was also a Dr. Love? Mine was Dr. April Love. For reals. Rather interesting to have two medical people (albeit in different disciplines) in the same metro area with the same somewhat unusual last name.

Edited at 2014-01-15 03:25 am (UTC)
Sinanjusinanju on January 15th, 2014 06:16 am (UTC)
I've always had floaters in my eyes (so did my dad). A couple of years ago, I noticed a new (and more prominent) one in my left one. I scheduled a visit to my eye doctor. Who examined my vision and my eyes...and then did laser surgery to fix (i.e., "spot weld") a slight tear in the retina, probably as a result of the same thing you mentioned. The floater was apparently a tiny bit of blood or something.

Getting laser eye surgery feels like having someone poke you in the eye with a (non-sharp) stick, or a finger. Repeatedly. Not fun, but not really painful, just uncomfortable. And it was all done right there in the eye clinic during my visit.

That floater is still there, but until just now, I'd long since stopped noticing it.
chiefwireheadchiefwirehead on January 15th, 2014 08:41 am (UTC)
I've had floaters for years - they have always gone away- until last year. Those were accompanied by a flash of light when I turned my head fast, A visit to the eye doctor end with "no problem, it will go away in a few days. Call me if it doesn't". The flash went away, but the floaters (plural) remain - a small dark one in the corner that I keep mistaking for a bug until I starting looking at it, and some translucent ones in the middle. What's weird about the translucent ones is that one of them moves in one direction when I move my eyes left, and the other moves in the opposite direction. I can guess what causes that, but it;s odd.
richardthe23rdrichardthe23rd on January 18th, 2014 05:03 pm (UTC)
After my eye doctor laser-zapped a film off of my replacement lens, I had my own private 3-D fish tank screen saver for days.
Herself_nycherself_nyc on March 22nd, 2014 10:11 pm (UTC)
I have the same thing, though in my case it doesn't look like a floater so much as a blurry spot that made me also keep on trying to clean it off my glasses.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )